Congratulations to Dr Abraham Lam, our alumnus and the Founder of MEGA Automation Ltd, and Dr Dan Wang, our Associate Professor, on receiving a Gold Medal in the 2ndAsia Exhibition of Inventions (AEI) Hong Kong with their project “Smart Air-conditioning Platform (SAP) for Optimizing Thermal Comfort & Energy Consumption in Buildings”.
Air-conditioning system accounts for more than half of the energy consumption in a building. Thermal comfort is a subjective feeling. Occupants may find an indoor temperature too cold or too warm which is not good for health and productivity and it may lead to energy waste as well. In light of this, Dr Lam has developed an AI algorithm which enables SAP to quantitatively calculate and estimate the thermal comfort of any individuals based on the different environmental and weather conditions like time, outdoor and indoor temperatures, fan speed and ultraviolet index. The platform is also connected to the air-conditioning systems via the Internet of Things (IoT) to support proactive temperature setting mechanisms. It not only increases energy efficiency in a building but also improves the comfort of the indoor environment.
Dr Lam obtained his Higher Diploma in Information Systems in 2007, Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Information Technology in 2009 and Doctor of Philosophy in Computing in 2015. During his ten years study at COMP, Dr Lam demonstrated his keen interest in applying cutting-edge technologies to green buildings and smart cities. Before his PhD graduation, Dr Lam won the Entrepreneurship Award of PolyU Micro Fund in 2012 with his outstanding business proposition “Sustainable iBuilding Management Platform”. He later established MEGA Automation Ltd with the support of PolyU startup fund and enhanced the initial model with Dr Wang, the supervisor of his PhD study.
Exploiting research outcomes directly in real-world projects is always difficult as there are many unforeseeable factors at the development stage. Throughout the process, Dr Wang provided substantial support on the research side while Dr Lam played a key role in transforming the technology into real-world applications upon receiving the clients’ feedback and the deployment results. The team solved the challenges together and exemplified a close collaboration between academia and enterprise.
“I plan to add more features on top of the existing model to further enrich the application scenarios of SAP. I will work with property management and land developers to deploy SAP in the new buildings, hope it becomes part of their smart building solutions,” said Dr Lam. Taking this opportunity, Dr Lam would like to encourage COMP students and alumni to “think big and start from small”. He believes that it is essential to understand a problem and to learn from experience. “There is no shortest path to success, but only by your persistence and patience to get things done.”
AEI is the first exhibition cum competition exclusively devoted to inventions from Asia to be hosted in Hong Kong, by partnering with the International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva. Through exhibition and competition under one roof, global experts, inventors in the industry showcase their breakthrough and versatile inventions and solutions to the world. AEI 2019 featured over 35 inventions that competed for the awards including Gold Medal, VC Choice of Award, Geneva Invention Award, IFIA Award and the Grand Award.